All posts filed under: Voyage – Viaggi – Trip

Viticulture héroïque : l’enchantement des Cinque Terre

Ligurie, à la pointe extrême de la Riviera de Levante: 15 km de cote rocheuse et 5 villages d’origine moyenâgeuse forment la région connue sous le nom des Cinque Terre. On s’attendrait à tout de cette succession de falaises escarpées sauf à ce qu’elles produisent du vin et pourtant la vigne ici, comme l’olivier, a constitué par le passé la principale ressource de revenus pour les habitants. La montagne a été modelée par le travail des hommes pendant des siècles : des terrasses à perte de vue, retenues par des petits murets (les ciàn), qui l’ont sculptée en jardin. Malheureusement aujourd’hui les taches jaunes des genêts interrompent l’enchainement des vignobles et les bois s’étandent jusqu’à la mer, c’est le signe que la terre a été abandonnée. Cultiver la vigne et produire du vin dans cette région est trop fatiguant et pas assez rentable pour fournir un revenu suffisant à toute une famille. Peu nombreux sont ceux qui continuent et souvent il s’agit là d’une activité secondaire, le travail de fin de journée ou du dimanche, mais fait …

London Whisky, the start of the story

Who invented whisky? The Scots and Irish have been slugging this one out for centuries. But there’s a case for saying it was actually Londoners. Records show King Harold making a barley-based eau de vie in north London as early as 1060. This would pre-date the first known example of Scottish whisky production by more than 400 years. London’s tradition of whisky distilling has been largely forgotten, but in the first half of the 19th century the capital  was home to at least 6 whisky distilleries. Competition from the Scots and a dramatic crash in whisky prices, put nearly all of them out of business (Source : Darren Rook, founder of the London Distillery Company, Evening Standard 19.04.2017). Now a new generation of craft distillers are on the brink of resurrecting that tradition and there’s a bit of a race on at the moment to be the first to relaese a London whisky, but there’s no rush. The important thing to remember is that making a good whisky takes time (you have to age a …

The real “meal deal”

Tripadvisor’s 2017 list of its top London restaurants might just surprise you. Forget about going to Gordon’s place… here’s where you should “really” eat in London. When it comes to fine dining, London is NOW one of the world’s great gastronomic destinations, with a total of 79 Michelin stars (the only city in Europe with more is Paris), but in the early ‘90s the height of sophistication could be summed up by a visit to a trattoria, some red-and-white checked tablecloths and a candle shoved into a hard straw-encased Chianti bottle. If you were feeling brave, you’d order daring dishes such as spaghetti bolognese. If you were playing it safe, you’d go for a prawn cocktail, followed by a steak so well done you could have worn it as a shoe. Fast-forward to 2017, and the UK scene couldn’t be more different . In a city boasting so many Michelin stars, the annual TripAdvisor list of London’s top 10 restaurants is very surprising. You won’t find too many celebrity chefs here, and only one spot …

Les nouveaux desserts londoniens à essayer

Je me souviens il y a quelques années, quand une petite envie de sucré remontait à la surface, j’avais le choix entre un pompeux afternoon-tea ou un cupcake au chocolat. Désormais la scène des desserts londoniens n’a plus rien d’ennuyeux. Entre les Freakshakes qui ont mis définitivement au placard les vieux milkshakes à la vanille ou les gaufres à bulles, les sucreries Made in London ont atteint un niveau pantagruélique de calories, capables à elles seules de nourrir une famille entière pendant une semaine ! Voyons cela dans le détail :   Tout d’abord analysons l’évolution d’une mignardise bien française, le macaron, mais farcis ici de glace. Ils ont été inventés par le pâtissier Yolkin qui en avait tout simplement marre de devoir jeter les jaunes d’œufs inutiles dans sa préparation des macarons. Du coup, en fouillant bien, il a réussi à trouver une recette de glace qui utilise beaucoup, mais alors beaucoup de jaunes d’œuf et BIM! voilà une combinaison gagnante : les sandwiches macarons givrés, saveur citron meringue, caramel beurre salé, melon, thé vert…. Maintenant Yolkin …

Escape.

Quit your daily routine, sell your shoe collection and sit on board of a flight aimed roughly in the direction of some adventure…. It takes real guts to leave the stability of your life behind and head on out into the unknown, but the best decisions always do. Thankfully, you can sometimes find the most fantastic things going on at the end of your own street, like live and work for two months in London (1.5h flight from home), a realistic option. As you know, I work for a company that buys directly from wine producers, stores the bottles in optimal conditions, then sells them with a guarantee of provenance to oenophiles around the world. The operation hinges on developing close relationships with the châteaux and domaines from where the wine is sourced as well as the customers. The world of wine and service is all about the people, it’s essential to meet in person if you want to develop an understanding of someone’s needs and put back some personality into the process. That’s why …

Sauvignon blanc, a polarising grape

Not sure about sauvignon blanc ? For me it helps to know where you sit (and sip) on the flavour spectrum. Fans blissfully imbibe this wine, while detractors describe it as “cat’s pee ” or sweaty armpits. Devotees like it cold on a hot day. The cynics wouldn’t be seen dead with a glass yet offer them chilled Sancerre and they’ll purr words such as “clean, crisp and minerally”. Like so many things in life, there is truth in both extremes. Under the wine laws of France, sauvignon blanc is the mandatory white grape of the Sancerre region. When planted in the area’s chalk – laden soils, it takes on a unique personality : subtle and charming, restrained and discreet, an excellent example of terroir, that indefinable word that expresses a wine’s sense of place rather than its variety. The other distinct terroir for sauvignon blanc is Marlborough, on New Zealand’s south island. It’s recent (and equally valid) terroir, first recognised with the pivotal 1985 Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc. Fresh – cut grass, goosebarry, passion …

La Tasmania, il prossimo paradiso del vino

Atterrare a Hobart durante l’autunno australe appena cominciato significa esporsi a raffiche di vento che mettono a dura prova i nervi dei piloti e passeggeri. Una volta toccata terra, si scopre pero’ un « piccolo » paradiso dove tanti viticoltori si stanno trasferendo dalla madre patria Australia dove l’industria del vino stagna, mentre qui é in via di sviluppo. Quest’isola di 68.400 km2, ovvero 3 volte la Sardegna, é preservata rispetto al resto del paese che subisce siccità, incendi, cambiamenti climatici e precipitazioni record. Si contano più di 160 « vignerons » che, sull’isola, occupano per ora solo 1900 ettari, una parte microscopica delle terre agricole disponibili la cui economia si basa sull’allevamento di mucche e pecore, la produzione di mele, fragole, pere ed anche di qualche bel oliveto… Qui la vite ha trovato il suo spazio, già subito ad Hobart, dove il primo vigneto di pinot noir piantato 30 anni fa’ abbraccia il museo di arte contemporanea. Questo vitigno rappresenta 1/3 della produzione della Tasmania ed una rivalità sta nascendo con la vicina Nuova Zelanda che lavora sulla …